5 Reasons You Should Never Feel Guilty About Letting Go Of Your High School Friends

by Emily Fata

As I approach receiving my undergraduate degree, I find myself reflecting quite a bit on my time in college, while attempting to discover how my life will change once my post-graduate education begins.

Consequently, I must consider how my life has changed between high school and college.

As I have been doing so, I have realized the vast majority of the friendships I formed in high school are no longer relevant in my current life.

In college, I have made a few extremely close friends, all of whom I can’t imagine my life without, and with whom I have established a very close bond.

I have learned that deep friendships with these people, unlike my more shallow and unfulfilling high school friendships, are what will help them endure.

The truth of the matter is, as adolescents, we don't realize the plethora of friendships we have made are not deeply rooted in anything largely significant until we start to drift apart from these people.

Here are five reasons why this mutual parting of ways occurs:

1. You don’t always have the same interests you did in high school.

As we mature, both the things we like and dislike are the very aspects that once held our relationships together.

Not only are these the things we first discussed and bonded over, they are the things that led us to potentially create a deeper bond that extends beyond being simple acquaintances.

If your friendships were not established on more than these simple things, chances are, they will easily fall apart the moment common interests begin to disintegrate and shift.

2. Sometimes, you mature while your old friends do not.

This can turn into a somewhat passive parting of ways or a more dramatic severance, depending on the type of person you are dealing with.

I’ve encountered both situations and I have to say, the more passive people are by far the better ones to deal with.

Secondary school was a time I was both superfluous in my demeanor and actions, as well as highly invested in nearly everything. Admittedly, this could have been to a fault.

However, like most people, we learn from the mistakes we made in our teen years and consequently grow from them.

As a result, we not only become more comfortable in the world around us, but we also we mature significantly.

Unfortunately, some people either never reach this milestone in their lives, or will perhaps reach it a lot later in life.

The point is, it becomes apparent that this maturation is not going to occur anytime soon. It becomes an obstructing force upon you, impeding you from growing as a person.

This disconnect in maturity can cause a riff between two old friends.

There seems to be a growing bitterness over this mismatch in perspective, which can result in the more dramatic friend blowing up and the more passive friend simply moving on to do his or her own thing.

The point is, this divide in maturity levels eventually causes a collapse in the bond the two friends once shared.

3. Your college friends know the improved and adult you.

I love how the friends I have made since high school know me for the real me; that is, who I now am and not who I once was.

One’s emergence into his or her post-secondary life is somewhat of a metamorphosis.

We shed the cocoon of our teenage years (in which were often naïve, immature and, at times, embarrassing in our behaviors) to become the more stable, confident and mature people we are today.

Your post-secondary friends know you for the new you.

They are unadulterated by memories of who you once were. They are the people we have built new relationships with, which are founded upon our new mutually shared interests, likes and dislikes.

4. You don’t see each other as much as you used to, and that’s unavoidable.

One thing that stood out for me when I first transitioned from high school to college was the need to adjust to not seeing my friends every single day.

High school was a time when everyone was always doing the same thing. We shared many of the same classes, lunch periods and extracurricular activities.

With everyone going their separate ways and getting consumed with the increased workload of college or university, balancing jobs and the new relationships they inevitably gain in their new environments, a drift can occur.

You are no longer seeing your many friends every weekday.

This new divide between your lives can create an estrangement that -- if the relationship wasn’t very solid to begin with -- can end with you losing touch.

5. Things happen and people drift apart. That’s okay.

Sometimes, it’s not even a matter of diverging interests, lack of maturity or being distanced from your friends that can result in a mutual sense of drifting.

Sometimes, friendships simply come to an end for no reason other than the fact that people move on with their lives and leave relationships that are no longer beneficial to them in the past.

This isn’t beneficial in a selfish sense, but rather, the relationship is not benefitting either party any longer.

These friendships then are let go, but they are still cherished for the value they held when they were once vital to our lives.

Of course, there are the high school friends we do keep. These are the people who know you inside and out, and have grown with you over time.

The sheer fact that they still remain close seems to be against all odds, as they have seen you through the years, the changes and the entire maturation process.

The best part? They’ve done the same, seemingly in synchronization with you, and you have managed to come on top despite it all.

Personally, my best friend is one of these high school friends I have held on to.

We’ve grown as people, and despite our interests differing in many ways, we are still essentially the same people in all facets that matter: our morals, our personalities and our senses of humor.

There are also two or three other high school friends I try to keep in touch with, but this is nothing in comparison to the many friends I once had while I was in college.

It’s okay to let people go.

In fact, it is often necessary to move on and flourish as an ever-changing person.

It’s just a simple part of life.

We learn, we grow and we let go of anything that hinders us.

It doesn't matter if they are things, places or people.